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Our Burden of Proof

Updated on June 16, 2016

Water Buffaloes are cool.

Now that they have not been at war for 40 years, Vietnam has great countryside.
Now that they have not been at war for 40 years, Vietnam has great countryside. | Source

What is the burden?

It would seem to me that in today’s society most people understand that there is a burden of proof in both science and law. Someone comes up with a theory and then the burden of proof is on them in order to prove that theory true. The easy ones just seem easy. All humans have two legs. And we know that is wrong. Most humans have two legs and we know that is true. Some humans have two legs and that is true beyond any reasonable doubt.

Since this was meant to be a sermon let us take the fun one. Prove that God exists. It cannot be proven. Prove that God does not exist. And it cannot be proven. One could point out certain proofs going either way. People can argue over the validity of those proofs. But they are no where near the burden of proof that we would accept.

Gravity is fun. All things fall to the earth. That would be wrong. All things that are heavier than the atmosphere around them and within the gravitational field of the earth will descend if not restricted otherwise. That one is true and provable beyond reasonable doubt.

In law there are a few areas of burden of proof. The two most clear are one for civil matters and another for criminal matters. Although both have areas where different standards apply. Civil matters in general require a concept of “by a preponderance of evidence” and criminal in general have a “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The civil is often best described as “more likely than not” like a 51 to 49% test. The criminal one is often best described as “if there is no other plausible explanation for the underlying facts”. Isn’t that cool. It really is in general that simple. What test do you use when deciding if your boss is lying to you? How about a co-worker? How about your spouse? And what about your children?

It is fun to think about. I am in the area of taking people at their word unless given real facts to contradict them. And then it is more a gut feeling than a burden to be used.

There is a reason the call it the Grand Canyon

The farthest view is miles and miles away.
The farthest view is miles and miles away. | Source

Maybe?

The balance does not seem like it.

So why are we in a would be sermon talking about “burden of proof”? Most stuff regarding the spiritual is taken on faith and proof is really pretty much irrelevant. I do believe that that is how it should be. If we use linear analytical thought to try and reach the ethereal spiritual realm we are basically stuck. Just assume dimensions and planes. Think of the spiritual on plane b. The analytical on plane c. Both valid but the planes do not intersect. Or I will leave you to ponder if they do.

Ok down to brass tacks. Everything around me is going great for me and my neighbors. So I feel great. Sorry it does not work that way. There is no “if this then that” in the spiritual or emotional. Oh sure “some event” may make us sad or despondent in reaction to it. But when I am spiritually fit occurrences do not effect that. That which “happens” is on a different plane. If I drop down into the analytical plane then circumstances dictate how I feel. Up in the spiritual plane there is no such circumstance. Up in that plane there is God and love and that is that. The circumstances on that plane cannot change for there are not circumstances.

Wow – way too heavy. So back to this burden of proof in our lives. I have this part of me that relates to proofs and hard facts. And I have this part of me that is totally fu fu spiritual and empathetic. You know what? I do not seek to walk a tight rope between them. The balance comes from total immersion changing from one to another. The more radical in both directions the more balanced. A full pendulum. Did you know that a pendulum in order to work correctly swinging from one extreme to the other has to be perfectly balanced to perform correctly? Yes indeed we can switch from one part to another and go out into the extreme and still stay balanced if we allow for the other extreme. Yes I hear you – my poor wife and family. But I raise that issue for the point. We can do both a full analytical with burden of proof and the totally based on faith part. Can they merge? I leave that up to you.

I just love a lit up fountain at night.

The Promenade
The Promenade | Source

I know this stuff is heavy so lighten up.

Two extremes.

Let me relate a little something. I went to a University. Did I mention that I love school? I do not get good grades because I always find myself arguing against the professor’s position – yes I am a contrarian. Well I chose a major that was the toughest in my school. Philosophy. They flunked more than they passed, not to mention the drop out rate. A bell curve was not going to happen. But I also wanted to be a lawyer. So I chose a dual major which included pre-law in the college of business. It was crazy. I spent half my time out in the wilds of heavy contemplative philosophy and the other half in the hard discipline of things like economics, micro and macro. No my head did not explode and I graduated in both. But it did cause severe damage in the area of walking down the middle of the road.

I think you can see why I went off into that little history. Following a strict course of burden of proof will get you lopsided. Following a strict course of blind faith and mysticism will get you lopsided in the other direction. Now I would like to tell you that staying in that middle of the road is right. But I cannot. In order to swim one must jump all the way in the water. In order to experience success in any direction one must fully immerse one’s self into that direction.

I leave you with that. I am sure your own thoughts on the matter will yield you something useful.

How about you?

Are you comfortable getting all the way into something?

See results

Are we meant to only sail on smooth seas?

If you read my sermons you know the ethereal side of Eric. You know the compassionate and loving side. Perhaps I go too far into love and get lost in the notions that are so dear to my heart. My hope is that you do that as well. But I go so far out there that I become lopsided. But I for sure will not lessen this plunge and only feel the water with one hand in the river. I must dive in and leave terra firma behind. But by golly I must live in this world and I must find balance to relax. Backwards as it may sound I relax in my world of the analytical burden of proof. You see to me it is relaxing to work the puzzles of life that can be solved by logic and proof. It is just solid and allows for rest. Full conclusions are reached and there is no moving target. It is what it is and it shall always be so and the burden of proof is on me and rising to the occasion is rewarding and concrete. Ah, it is easy.

Believe it or not but I have two really close friends that are attorneys. One in the area of employment litigation and one who is a straight up criminal defense lawyer. They let me consult with them. I love it. Straight forward problem solving using a set of rules and a legal paradigm that allows little wiggle room for variables. Apply the law to a given fact base and argue and conclude. Persuasion of a burden of proof style. Rules absent of emotion. Too cool to relax and problem solve. Issue, Rule, Application and Conclusion. IRAC. Can I beat the other guy at this game? To me it is so relaxing. (don’t worry I also play soccer with my son for fun, hike in nature, write and grow roses and cook for fun)

So let us thank our God. Somehow we can be of this world and yet also live in the other world. I like to think of it as a close contact with my Lord. It is my hope that relating my personal story here so that you know that there is at least one other who can live in both planes.

But I think you already know my point. Hey friend if you get way out there in one direction get way out there in the other and create your own pendulum balance. Don’t forget if no one told you today, I am telling you now. You are loved.

And that brings me to my own answer about the merging of the planes. Just for me, I do believe they merge. In that one special place – when we act in love.

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    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 10 months ago from United States

      "Are we meant to sail on only smooth seas"...says it all my friend. Thanks for the wisdom. whonu

    • txthorn profile image

      Wayne Carlisle 10 months ago from Manhattan

      Smooth seas never produced an experienced Sailor. Yes Eric life in this world and heaven are two completely different planes, However there is a bridge that connects the two and that is our faith. I'm a little lost on some of what you wrote but I do get the gist of it. Very interesting characterization. Thank you for the read. Well done.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Whonu, Thank you so much for coming by and leaving an uplifting note.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Wayne thank you. Yes I try to leave some confusion and open ended concepts. Most awareness is produced by our own thoughts and not those of another.

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      Siddharth Kapoor 10 months ago

      A fine wisdom here brother. Gravity teaches us much as an analogy of life. I like how you connected the law with science. In criminal cases, the onus rests on the prosecution to demonstrate that the defendant is guilty before a jury may convict him/her, whereas in life the onus rests on the individual from a subjective point of view to judge his/her acts and deeds. Good connection here. Write more.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Siddarth. It is a wonderful journey if we keep our hearts and minds open to new thoughts. I still have so much to learn.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 10 months ago from southern USA

      Dear Eric,

      I am able to relate to your perspective here as to our faith and then the other logic of the world. I work in the legal world in my daytime job, and it is in the criminal field, but a bit different as relates to public corruption. So, I, too, live in those two planes. I couldn't imagine living one day without my faith carrying me through each day (and I need no proof of anything), and then when it comes to criminal law, we must apply the "beyond a reasonable doubt" and as you have stated so well here, it somehow works for me too. I know our God is a just God and Holy God. I am so thankful that His mercies are new each and every morn ...especially for me!

      A lot of people believe that once they give their life over to Christ, that it is will be smooth sailing from then on out, but quite the opposite is true, as He does not promise a life without tribulations, but He does promise to never leave us nor forsake us and to get us through to the other side of that deep, dark valley when we place our complete faith and trust in Him.

      Peace and blessings always

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Wise words once again, Eric. At different times in my life I have embraced one side or the other fully and immersed myself in that choice for awhile. However, I could never be truly comfortable in either the extremes of the world or spiritually. Words like "to understand what another is going through, you need to walk a mile in their shoes" etc have always had an effect on me. For me personally, I had to find that middle line and try to understand, mix with, and not judge those on either side.

      My wife and I have done Bible study and trained to minister in home group situations, and worked with homeless youths. I have also at other times embraced excesses such as alcohol, gambling, sex etc. Like you, I have seen and experienced different aspects of the world so I can see it from unbiased eyes. Whereas some Christians only have friends who walk the same line, I have friends from many different religions, walks of life and races. I see no one as more worthy of their place on the earth than another. A burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, innocent until proven guilty...are terms that need to be embraced in most aspects of life. Another thought provoking sermon, My Friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Faith that is great to learn of your life. One thing I did not get into here, is the wonderful reality that even when we walk fully immersed in the world of man God is still walking with us. We may shift planes but we are covered in that love no matter what. Thank you for getting me to think of that marvelous truth.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John thank you for your wise comment. When I was a young man I had a problem -- I was an adrenaline junky. If diving off a cliff at 40 feet was cool then diving off at 60 feet would be cooler. From racing a downhill in skiing to white water rafting I would push it to the max. So it is no surprise that later I became a workaholic and an alcoholic.

      In my dotage the only extremes I take to are those of intellect and faith. That is the reason that this hub did not pass muster for a sermon. It lacked the extreme inspiration test. I suppose walking that middle path takes years to develop. I just cannot stay there in the spiritual.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 10 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I have had my share of believing one thing completely, then see it differently, so now I am kinda on the fence. I have never felt that all the people are correct all the time. People see and feel life in many zones, and in a way that, to me, is healthy. I do not need proof that God exists, I know it is true. Working in the medical field has brought me into the many facets of life and love. It is all good if we love each other and God. I bet you would've been a good lawyer, you see all the human battles, yet you understand and have compassion, but know there is a penalty if we fail to put love first. Another good one Eric....

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There you stood, at the pulpit in my mind, delivering much needed common sense and truths.....take a break now. You earned it.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Ruby, don't tell anyone but I have a doctorate in law. About ten years of practicing it, burned me out. Constant contact with conflict is a tough one to deal with. I was much happier later in life to be an English/Youth preacher in a Vietnamese "Mission" congregation. The comments here have moved me to take a closer look at a balance when we as ourselves individually change through life. Zones sometimes change with age.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Bill. Sorry to say that some medical issues are causing me to constantly be on break and it is driving me crazy. For some reason I just can't view religion without common sense attached.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 10 months ago from london

      Excellent ending! ThreeKeys asked a question with four words, one of them being 'practical' and yes, at times you have given very good examples of what it means to be practical. Really wholesome Hub.

      There is another approach to the same conclusion. We see ourselves as instruments in the hands of Something Higher. It is not ours to question or to be attached to, but simply to be instruments of devotion; to Surrender, like the child.

      The servant in the rich man's house knows that she is a servant. Nothing there is hers, and sooner or later she will go home to her children. So while there, in this rich man's house; in this Field of Dharma (righteousness) she remains vigilante; prudent ...but I have faith that you know all this, Bro.

      Happy Father's Day tomorrow!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Manatita, I know one thing for certain. Some of us were given gifts of intellect. Perhaps we are denied certain other gifts. I wish I was given gifts of playing an instrument, writing poetry and being a great cook. Alas this is and was not meant to be. Yet we are all given the gifts that allow us to love and to be of service. Of this I need no proof because I receive it daily.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 10 months ago from london

      Ha ha Chuckle ....I used to cook, but I because a vegetarian when I entered the spiritual life in October, 1982. I have been struggling since...so to with my music, but God has given me an ability to sing, especially inside or within. I feel the Love and sing a lot. Much Gratitude, Bro, 'cool' approach.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oh my Manatita, in my own head my singing sounds wonderful and there is nothing better than singing with friends in worship and praise. But the gift of beauty in such an endeavor must skip a generation. My father was an extremely accomplished musician and now my son is the lead singer in a fairly successful band. Hey I almost forgot, I can whistle real well ;-)

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      Patricia Scott 10 months ago from sunny Florida

      Now I know I am not the only one who does this.as far as proof that God exists I have that!!! Two of my loved ones who doctors said would not be are on the planet...that is proof enough for me

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Patricia I once had a situation where my cancer was not diagnosed until it was at a stage four. My percentage of making it was lower than five percent as far as doctors were concerned. I attribute my earthly existence today to divine intervention. And perhaps my now unrelated cancer is a wake up call to get into action.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 10 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, you are a contrarian with the courage to say what most people only think; and when you say it you make us think some more. Thanks for the challenges.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, it could be said that my writing talent would never be enough to get readers. So I make the best with the talents God has given me. It is so satisfying to get uplifting comments such as yours. Thank you.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 10 months ago

      If only life were balanced each day for us! Thanks for sharing some truths about life.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks much Dianna. I keep looking for that illusive place.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 10 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I like your end conclusion, that the planes do intersect, where we act in love. The experiences of life over the past week have seen the pendulum swing wide both ways in our family. It is amazing how it changes our perspective when we see both extremes in a short period of time. We realize that both are needed, and that both are vital to us finding where we fit somewhere in the middle!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Denise I know what you mean. I have a rather serious medical condition. We have no choice but to get into the medical/science side of the issue. But we firmly believe that God's love and grace will cover us. Really radical sides of the same life situation.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 10 months ago from Shelton

      what is burden of proof.. yeah.. I can understand your conclusion.. I really can Eric.. another wonderful hub my friend

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Frank, I am very pleased to say, that my relationships are going great. People accept me at my word and I do not have to prove anything. Thank you for your support. Wow your last story was just amazing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 10 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You share greatly of an important part of one's life.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Devika, thank you for coming by your support is always appreciated.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 10 months ago from San Diego California

      I always thought you were a great philosopher, but I never knew you were professionally trained - unlike me, a dime-store philosopher with a penchant for half baked rants.

      Your words are brilliant and moving, as usual.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Mel, quite a strange training indeed. I guess I liked it so much that my elder son also got a degree in it. You should go on a car ride with us sometime, no one else will.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      The great about a pendulum is the monstrous swings!

      I loved the idea of balance between the swings of the pendulum. Let's keep that balance between the burden of proof and faith.

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Lawrence. I am glad you liked this area of inquiry. Funny but sometimes I just feel like a ping pong ball getting bounced from one end to the other.

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